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Comfort, safety first for 2019 Lincoln MKC

Lincoln’s popular MKC luxury crossover has been reincarnated for 2019 as an all-new model with new features, power, design and safety tech and, arguably, the most dramatic looks a Lincoln crossover has ever seen.

It’s quietly handsome. Distinctive enough that you know it’s a Lincoln from a glance, but without being loud or shouty.

Two key things define this latest foray into the luxury crossover scene. First, the MKC now includes nothing short of the market’s latest in outward-looking safety technology, for the shopper who wants it “all” on the safety front.

And second, this is a luxury crossover designed to do exactly what a luxury crossover is supposed to do: be comfortable and relaxing, however used.

The ride and driving experience in general, are nicely dialled in to soothe.

Controlled body motions come as a result of the adaptive suspension which can actively manipulate the motion of the MKC’s body over the wheels and mitigate unwanted bounding and rebounding, all while optimizing ride quality on an inch-by-inch, bump-by-bump basis.

The MKC spends more time planted on its wheels, so occupants spend less time being shaken up like a James Bond martini.

If you find sportier luxury crossovers feel too busy or rough, you’ll appreciate what’s going on.

The up-level 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder generates 285 horsepower and is a saucy and quiet performer. It’s best operated at low revs, where there’s plenty of power on tap, where it barely makes a peep, and where, in gentle driving, you rarely hear or feel it.

Plenty of torque and pulling power are in reserve from low to mid RPMs, making passing and merging a breeze.

It’s got plenty of jam, though it sounds fairly average when pushed and flaunts its best stuff when driven in no particular rush.

Headlight performance is very good thanks to clean, white light cast far and wide, and the THX stereo system offers up vivid, high-resolution playback that reveals new details, even in familiar audio tracks.

Even badly crumbling in-town roads do little to break the composure; here, mostly, MKC feels solid and robust, not delicate.

The steering is isolated nicely as well, keeping straight and true and avoiding a game of steering-wheel tug-of-war on all but the bumpiest roads.

If you’re out and about running errands you’ll find the MKC shines. Parking radar, a small turning circle and a good backup camera make parking a cinch.

The cargo load floor is at (roughly) knee height for easy loading and unloading of gear without lifting, and this eases access for family canines, too.

It’s also supremely easy to board and exit, since you get in and out by sliding directly to one side or the other, through a big door opening and onto a slippery leather seat.

It’s a breeze to park, load, unload, board and exit. Got rear-seat passengers along for the ride? They’ll find plenty of room in most directions, though headroom tightens up quickly for those of above-average height.

My tester’s feature content favourites included heated and air-conditioned seats, a massive panoramic sunroof, and the central command interface system with is fast, responsive, logically presented, and amounts to one of the most hassle-free touch-screen interfaces my fingertips have ever met.

My fingertips also met the push-button shifter: this takes some getting used to, but ultimately, clears room on the console, opens the cabin up a little by doing away with the traditional shift lever, and enables more at-hand storage to help keep smaller items organized and secure on the move.

My main complaint of the cabin was Lincoln’s abundant recycling of Ford parts for its construction.

With the touch-screen, stalks, switches, buttons and even instrument cluster lifted directly from a Ford Fusion or Explorer, some may find it feels like less of an upgrade to step up into the pricier Lincoln.

On the other hand, if you like the Ford setup, you’ll feel right at home.

Some notes on safety. If you fancy yourself such provisions as lane departure alert, blind-spot monitoring and a pedestrian-sensing collision alert system, you’ll find them all, and more, here.

With MKC, you’ve got access to little short of the market’s latest outward-looking safety systems. Gadgets alone do not a safe vehicle make, so here are two more notables: First, that trademark LED brake-light that runs the width of the vehicle helps significantly enhance your visibility to other drivers in inclement weather and, second, the brakes operate with pleasing urgency and confidence-inspiring bite from the first mash on the pedal.

Gripes? Some owners may wish for a little more stand-out factor from the styling, and MKC isn’t particularly big on fun factor.

That’s not the point, of course, but punchy engine aside, the quick and lazy steering and soft shocks cement this machine’s comfort-first proposition.

Ultimately, your investment here goes largely toward comfort, safety and quiet confidence from a package that’s ready for relaxing travels on short or long trips.

For a fully-loaded MKC like my tester, that investment is a respectable $50,000 and pricing starts in the low 40s.

2019 Lincoln MKC

  • Engine: 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, 285 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: AWD
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Features: panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, climate-controlled seats, navigation, power tailgate, push-button shift, THX stereo
  • What’s hot: Good all-around ride quality, great safety provisions for the price, punchy engine, very easy to live with
  • What’s not: minimal driving fun-factor, too many recycled Ford parts inside
  • Price as tested (approximately): (2019 Lincoln MKC Reserve AWD) $50,000
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